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How to survive the holidays in Mexican Spanish

By Memrise Team

The holidays can be tricky. You’ve been learning Mexican Spanish, but no one’s told you how to small talk your way out of a party or how to answer “what color is your underwear?”

Until now. 

We’ve put together a Holiday Survival Kit course in Mexican Spanish to get you through to 2020 unscathed. With over 70 phrases, you’ll learn how to get through the holidays like a local. Pick and choose phrases you’ll need most now – so whether you have relatives from Mexico visiting or you need a few phrases for the office posada, we’ve got you covered this holiday season.

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Don’t have an account? just click here to download the app and start one right away!

Estoy haciendo el maratón Guadalupe-Reyes / I’m doing the Guadalupe-Reyes marathon

*Takes deep breath* Ok. So, December 12 is the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe in México. Massively catholic country, right? So this is a super big deal. Then, we also celebrate the Day of the Three Wise Men (but we call them ‘Reyes Magos’) on January 6. The period in between those dates is known as El Guadalupe Reyes. We basically use it as a free pass to eat and drink whatever we want all. of. the. time. And then complain about clothes not fitting at the end of it.

Se me antoja un ponche / I’m craving some Christmas punch

When the weather is turning cold and Navidad approaches, “ponche” starts being prepared at homes and sold at street stands and restaurants everywhere. For Mexicans, ponche smells like Christmas. It’s a hot drink made with sugar cane sticks, tejocotes (kinda like crabapples), prunes, guava, apples, pears and cinnamon. We cheeky ones also like to add a drop or three of brandy or rum.

La posada de la oficina es el martes / The office Christmas party is next Tuesday

It goes a little something like this: posadas are parties that go on for nine days before Christmas. Ok, maybe they don’t go on non-stop, but it is a period of nine days to hold them. And you get invited to lots of them. Your office would probably have one. There are traditional piñatas, ponche, tamales, a free bar (probably) and general merriment. 

The more traditional posadas also commemorate by reproducing, through song, Mary and Joseph’s pilgrimage as they looked for a place to stay (posada means “inn”) before the baby Jesus was born. 

El recalentado sabe mejor / The Christmas leftovers taste better

I don’t know about where you live, but for us, Christmas leftovers is where it’s at. But we call them recalentado, literally “reheated”. Give us any of the leftovers in a big and soft torta. Ok maybe two. People generally go to their relatives’ or friends’ house for recalentado as well.

¿De qué color son tus chones? / What color is your underwear?

This is not a creepy question if you ask it to your friends and close family, on December 31. See, we go by this superstition that wearing different color underwear will bring you different type of good luck in the New Year: red underwear to get lucky in love, yellow underwear to get lucky in money. Stores and markets stock up on them heavily! Want a top local tip? You’re supposed to get extra lucky if you wear them inside out.

¡Uy, qué cruda! / Wow, what a hangover!

This is a pretty useful one for surviving the holidays no matter where you are, but now you can say it like a true Mexican. You overindulge, then you complain. You probably swear you won’t do it again. But, like we also say ¡una vez al año no hace daño! (it’s no harm if you do it once a year). And, to be fair, if it’s during el Guadalupe-Reyes, it’s fair game.